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Why Don’t More Women Run for Public Office?

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 08:02 PM
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Why Don’t More Women Run for Public Office?

http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/09/15/why-dont-more-women-r... /

by James Parks, Sep 15, 2007

Even though women make up the majority of all voters—54 percent in 2004—and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is one of the leading contenders for president in 2008, the number of women in elected office is still very low.

In a new Point of View column on the AFL-CIO website, Jennifer Lawless, a political science professor at Brown University, says this gender gap will continue to deprive the public of some highly qualified candidates unless we act to change it.

Lawless, author of It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office and a 2006 candidate for Congress from Rhode Island, shares her experiences as a woman candidate in a state with a poor history of electing women. She explores the issue of “political ambition, why men have it, and why women don’t.”

Click here to read the entire Point of View column: http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/speakout/jennifer_law...

While the number of women in Congress has grown by 800 percent since World War II, the United States ranks 82nd worldwide in the percentage of women in our national legislature. Only 16 percent of the members of the U.S. House and Senate are female. Women serve as governors in only nine states—Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington. And just 20 percent of big city mayors are female.

The “prospects for women’s full inclusion in our political system…are looking increasingly bleak,” Lawless says. A recent national study of college students found that men are nearly twice as likely as women to say they might be interested in running for office at some point in the future. Voter bias against women candidates also appears to be on the rise, she adds. Nearly one in every four Americans agrees that “most men are better suited emotionally for politics than are most women.”

Lawless says she has found three basic barriers women face in seeking elected office:

* Family roles. Female candidates face a “double bind” that men rarely need to reconcile. Unlike male office seekers, women usually have to answer for the conduct of their children and spouses. At the same time, in families where both adults are working, generally in high-level careers, women are much more likely than men to be responsible for the majority of household tasks and handle the majority of child care responsibilities, Lawless says.
* Perceptions of qualifications. According to Lawless’ research, 60 percent of men, but less than 40 percent of women with the exact same credentials and qualifications, think they’re qualified to run for office. Not only do these women think that they’re not qualified to run, but they also are more likely to let their doubts hold them back.
* Recruitment efforts. The large majority of women who are well-positioned to seek office are significantly less likely than men to report being asked to run.

FULL story at link.



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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. I dunno... Too damn busy?. . . . . . n/t
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uberblonde Donating Member (993 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 08:13 PM
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2. They didn't mention the most common reason.
If a position pays well, the party machinery is going to nominate a man. Notice that the state legislatures with the most women pay the least...
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Esra Star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
3. Less testosterone. nt
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stellanoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
4. Mostly because of our collectively scandalous pasts.
LOL
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. Here's an idea
Why don't we mandate that each state elect one male & one female US Senator.

Figure US Representatives so each state has an even number & mandate that 50% of those seats be held by women.

I concur w/the author's reasons why more women don't run. I think mainly we have too many jobs already.
I am a strong feminist, but the feminist movement has done nothing but give women more to be responsible for, which is draining the feminine energy of this planet. Most men have not stepped up and taken on a proportionate amount of the housework & child care responsibilities (& elderly care). They expect their wives (or sisters) to hold down a full-time job, but also supply their needs just like their unemployed mothers did. Then they wonder why the divorce rate is so high.

The Feminist movement has given men their cake & they can eat it, too. I still support the right of women to work outside the home, but their male partners need to accept more unpaid responsibility, too.

I don't know what the answer to this will be....I just hope we can find one, as the women of this country are operating in a constant state of exhaustion which is unhealthy for ALL of us.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. that won't work
should we also require a certain percentage of gay, black, jewish, etc. legislators?
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. No, because nothing defines us more than gender.
We don't have Black roles, gay roles, Jewish roles, etc.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. In your opinion....
personally, I'm just as gay as I am male.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. I understand why more don't
when they get treated like Clinton or Pelosi do here.

It's gotta be dispiriting to be accused of being a bitch, being calculating, being power-hungry when you simply show the same talents and ambitions as a man.
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Beats me. With stellar males like Strom Thurmond and Wilbur Mills and
Bob Packwood in influential positions in the Congress, why, you'd think the gals would be clawin' at the door to get in.
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zalinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Because we get assigned to clean up duty n/t
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-16-07 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
11. Those 3 basic barriers are definitely huge factors
Women still tend to think they have to be twice as good as the men around them to ask for half the credit. In addition to the personal/family stuff: Candidates are so heavily scrutinized, particularly when they are seeking an important office, that a woman who has lived anything less than a nun-like existence would be understandably hesitant to put herself out there where there are virtually no limits to the real or imagined dirt that could be dug up on her. I had a conversation with a prominent political consultant one time, where she told me that she knew of at least two women who would make fantastic Congressional candidates but who would never run because they are terrified that it would be revealed that they'd had abortions.
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allalone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
13. we need more women in government
and FEWER DICKS
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